track and field

Track Legend Michael Johnson Pans US Coaches for 4×100 Relay Fail

US men's Olympics relay team has been the target of criticism since botched exchange in Tokyo

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Olympic track and field legend Michael Johnson has joined the chorus railing against the United States' botched exchange during the men's 4x100m relay heat in Tokyo.

The four-man team -- comprised of Fred Kerley, Ronnie Baker Trayvon Bromell and Cravon Gillespie -- drew quick criticism Wednesday night from track and field great Carl Lewis who called the debacle a "total embarrassment."

Johnson's assessment of the team on Friday morning was similar but he pointed out that the failure came down to "lack of leadership."

The poor exchange led to the American sprinters finishing in sixth place in the heat, which marked the first time since 2008 that the United States men's 4x100m relay team did not in the Olympic finals.

Johnson, who won four gold medals running for the United States including one in the men's 4x400m relay at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, said that the problems with US track and field wouldn't be resolved "until there's true leadership."

Perhaps the complaints were heard: The United States men's 4x400m relay team ran well in its heat on Friday morning and will race for gold on Saturday.

Lewis, who won the 4x100 Olympic gold medal twice as well as seven other golds, was first to call out the mishandled exchanged in the 4x100 men's relay as "completely unaccepted."

"It was clear there was no leadership," he wrote.

American track stars Kenny Bednarek and Noah Lyles sat down with Craig Melvin after the event to discuss the issues Team USA faced during the 4x100 relay.

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